i-D Magazine
Issue 110
"The Sexuality Issue"
November 1992
Page: ??

808 State are now an 808 nation, as important to the '90s as New Order and The Smiths were to the '80s. Graham Massey's electronic innovation has spanned over a decade. Detroit doesn't come into it: Manchester's Factory label is the real birth place of sonic futurism. New Order, A Certain Ratio, Cabaret Voltaire, Crispy Ambulance (who Massey was also involved in) and producer Martin Hannett are techno's real originators. 808 State are perhaps the most misunderstood band in Britain.
Together with partners Andrew Barker and Darren Partington, Massey has produced one of the most important albums of this year. Gorgeous, featuring guests Peter Hook, Ian McCulloch and U840, is the finest work of synth pop since New Order's Technique. 808 State have broken the restraints of dance and have subsequently gained a larger indie following; a genre, incidentally, which former member Martin Price always expressed a hatred of. The press always look for quotes which stick out, something which Martin was always good at. We were four individuals who didn't agree on anything. It's much the same now, and that's always reflected in our music. I've never been into any one thing." As if to prove this, Massey was previously founding member of electro mavericks Biting Tongues, has remixed The Shamen, Finitribe, Primal Scream and The Sugarcubes, and in 1989 along with Price produced two tracks for the Inspiral Carpets: Joe and Directing Traffic.

Hardcore has nothing to do with tech-no under its true definition. Some would argue that 808's Cubik and In Yer Face are to blame for blueprinting the metal rave sound. "We were seen by the dance fraternity last year as just being makers of hard noise because of Cubik," says Graham. "Anyone who bought our records before that will know we've always had an uplifting side. If we just got harder and harder we'd become one-dimensional like heavy metal." These tracks, although simple, were both far beyond hardcore. "I think now that there's a recession it's up to artists to make quality music because it's at these times that culture's most important," Massey admits. "At the moment people are playing too safe and music is generally suffering." Along with Depeche Mode and New Order, 808 are one of Britain's most innovative and important bands. State your plea-sure.

[Author: Tony Wilson]

Gorgeous by 808 State is out on Nov 2 on ZTT.